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A few weeks ago, Microsoft added the Microsoft Teams application to the Office 365 business plans. This application is intended to improve teamwork within a company. Let us briefly introduce this new and above all powerful tool and also show why teams are NOT a competitor to Yammer.
Here we have to go back a little bit. Anyone who has worked intensively with Office 365 may have stumbled across the term Office 365 Groups. When a group is created, it uses the many different services of Office 365 and creates a small universe for collaborative work which includes;
The advantages of a group are obvious. Everyone in this group has access to all relevant information at any time and from any location. Another plus of the Office 365 Group is that you can also give external people access.
Microsoft Teams is basically nothing more than such a group, and yet so much more. The first thing you notice is that you have all these features in one application. In any case, this increases usability. If you create a so-called ‘team’ in this application, a OneNote and a SharePoint site are also created – with all the corresponding access rights.
A group instance is also set up in Exchange. But this takes a back seat, because another tool is in the spotlight in teams. The Persistent Chat celebrates its long-awaited revival. So the flood of project or team-related emails in Outlook has come to an abrupt end. All conversations can be found clearly in the program in which you work anyway and have your files and notes. As a little treat, not only emojis are available in this chat, but an infinite number of animated GIFs from https://giphy.com . Because teamwork can sometimes be fun.
Another innovation is the so-called ‘instant meeting’. If you start such an instant meeting in a persistent chat, a Skype call is started in teams. You can then include individual or all team members in this call.
It is not yet possible to invite external people to teams. For the time being, it is a purely in-house tool for connecting work groups, teams or departments.
Now the inclined reader may object: ‘Wait a minute! Persistent chat? Notes? Store files centrally? I know that!’ Yes, in Yammer it is also possible to create groups and make them accessible only to certain people. Yammer also gives you the opportunity to chat, file files and share notes. Why, if you have already established Yammer in your company, should you use Microsoft Teams?
Even if Yammer includes various team features, the differences are serious! Yammer is an almost closed system. Notes and files that are stored there also remain there. Teams, on the other hand, uses the ‘real’ SharePoint and the ‘real’ OneNote and makes their information directly accessible in the respective application – should you ever have no access to the Teams application.
You can quickly see that Yammer is exactly what it wants to be: an internal social network. You can follow employees, like and comment on their posts and honor your colleagues for special services. A survey function is also built in. And just as you know it from Facebook, you have a small chat window at the bottom right to have a short conversation. With Yammer it is also possible to invite external users for individual groups. This is good if you decide to let suppliers, business partners or customers participate in corporate communication to a certain extent.
Microsoft Teams and Yammer are not mutually exclusive. There is a very clear, strategic alignment of both tools.
If you want to use teams, consider the following: Are there smaller teams or departments in my company that work together on very specific projects? Those who may even work spatially separated? Then you have found the perfect solution. With documents or notes in SharePoint and OneNote, teams can work on the same thing in parallel. Spontaneous telephone or video conferences are possible from the application. And short conversations in chat can be read by all team members afterwards. Under no circumstances will any information be lost. Everyone is up to date.
Are you also interested in Yammer? Then it makes sense to think about the following questions: Can we improve corporate communication? Do we want to give our employees the opportunity to exchange ideas with each other and thus ensure more cohesion? It is possible to create groups in Yammer that cover different subject areas. Is there always news from the HR department? Then create a group “Human Resources”. Does management want to share news regularly? Create a “Management” group. There are no limits to your imagination – be it a group for “Search & Sell” or just a group in which you can exchange the latest jokes.
You also give your employees the opportunity to get in touch with you. Does a question of general interest arise for someone? If it is placed in Yammer and answered (so to speak, by short official channels), you have already informed a majority of your staff in this way. Yammer is a great forum for staying close to employees and strengthening the sense of community.
It is important that there is someone in your company who has an eye on the generated content. If you implement Yammer as a communication platform, you should definitely define usage guidelines and follow them up. Nothing is worse if such employee benefits ultimately lead to frustration and anger.
The strategic direction of Microsoft Teams and Yammer has hopefully become clear: the former focuses on smaller work groups or departments that work together on one or more projects. It is completely geared towards productivity. The second, i.e. Yammer, primarily serves as a social network within a company and improves and simplifies corporate communication. Yammer and teams are included in all business and enterprise plans.
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